Barton Street, Darlington, Co. Durham DL1
A large and impressive red-brick school-chapel of 1870-1, built as a memorial to Bishop Hogarth. It is of historical interest as a rare surviving example of a once-common building type, which was important in the nineteenth century provision of Catholic education and worship in places where funds were stretched. The church contains some carved work and other furnishings of note.
By the 1860s it was clear that Darlington needed further provision for Catholic education and worship in addition to St Augustine’s, whose priest, Fr Henry Coll, set about achieving such a result. This was a combined school and church, one of the first fruits in the diocese of the Education Bill of 1870. The foundation stone was laid on 16 October 1870 and the building opened by Bishop Chadwick on 6 March the following year. The cost was just £1,100 (without the land). The east end was partitioned off when the school was in use. The architect was Richard Robinson of Darlington, about whom information is elusive. An infants’ school was added in 1878 (probably to the right on Barton Street) and a presbytery across the road to the north on Nesfield Street in 1900. In 1910 new schools were completed and the church no longer had to serve a dual-purpose use. New flooring, benches and a panelled dado were put in, and the chapel could now accommodate 360.
This is a long red-brick Gothic building with its main front along Nesfield Street. It is symmetrical, with five pairs of lancets either side of a central three-light window. Above the latter is a niche with a statue of St William carved by leading stonecarvers Farmer & Brindley. There is a little polychromy with black brick detailing and stone dressings. The west front has plaques recording the fact that the building is a memorial to Bishop Hogarth, and the date 1870.
The impressive length of the building is apparent inside – this is accentuated by the insertion of a ceiling above the tie-beams which reduces the sense of height. The walls are plastered and are painted a light cream. Along the walls is a panelled timber dado and at the back of the church a raised area occupying the west bay. In the sanctuary the wall panelling is embellished with Gothic detail.
Fixtures and fittings:
List description (church listed in 2016, following Taking Stock)
Summary: Roman Catholic school-church, 1870-1 to the designs of Richard Robinson; attached school 1910 by Edward Kay. Gothic style. The lean-to extension to the east elevation of the west range and the small extension in the angle between the north range and the west range as well as the enclosing brick walls to the rear yards are excluded from the listing.
Reasons for Designation: The Roman Catholic school-church of St William of York and St Francis de Sales, 1870-71 with later school room of 1910, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Rarity: a good example of a once common but now relatively rare school-church, important in the C19 in providing worship and educational facilities on a modest budget; * Historic interest: constructed as a memorial to Bishop Hogarth, the first Bishop of the Diocese following the Restoration of Catholic Hierarchy in 1850; * Group value: taken together the school-church and later attached school room form a functional and spatial grouping, which enhances the interest of both buildings; * Plan form: the building illustrates well its dual-purpose function with its long symmetrical main elevation and an interior that retains the sense of space; * Fixtures and fittings: most notably the sculpture of St William of York by Farmer and Brindley and the Caen stone and marble high altar which remain in situ.
History: By the 1860s it was clear that Darlington needed further provision for Catholic worship in addition to St Augustine’s Church. The construction in 1870 of a combined school and church in an area of Victorian working-class housing resulted directly from the Education Bill of the same year. It is considered that this school-church is now a relatively rare survival of what was once an important building type in providing both Catholic worship and educational facilities on a modest budget. As a dual use building the E end of the church was partitioned off when the school was in use. The building was also constructed as a memorial to Bishop Hogarth. It was designed by Richard Robinson of Darlington, and the carved external statue is by leading stone-carvers Farmer and Brindley. The foundation stone was laid on 16 October 1870 and the building opened on the 6 March 1871 by Bishop Chadwick at a cost of £1000. The Caen stone altar was designed by Signor Boulette of Newcastle and carved by J Priestman and Sons, and the tabernacle canopy was added in 1880 also carved by Priestman. The east window is by Barnett of Newcastle. The school-church was extended to the south in 1878 by the addition of a new infant’s school, but in 1910 new schools were built on the same site and the school use of the church ceased. New flooring, benches and a panelled dado were inserted into the former school-church, which could now accommodate 360. Perhaps also at this time the central rear range that had formed the east side of a rear yard was truncated and partially rebuilt.
Details: Roman Catholic school-church, 1870-1 to the designs of Richard Robinson; attached school 1910 by Edward Kay. Gothic style. MATERIALS: red-brick; slate roofs. PLAN: L-shaped occupying a corner site: rectangular school-church oriented east to west with nave and sanctuary under one roof and a south-east sacristy; a later school is attached to the south-west corner. EXTERIOR: the school-church is constructed of red-brick in Flemish bond with stone dressings, polychromatic black brick detailing and a dentilled eaves cornice with roll moulded detailing. The long N elevation is symmetrical with eleven bays comprising five two-light lancet windows either side of a central gabled bay. The latter has wooden barge boards and contains a three-light stepped window; above is an ornately carved stone canopied niche with crocketed pinnacles containing a statue of St William of York. Immediately behind the central gabled bay astride the roof ridge, is a timber ventilator in the form of a bellecote with a pyramidal roof surmounted by an iron cross. There are polychromatic sill and impost bands and the pointed arches of the windows are also detailed with black brick. Four tiny triangular roof lights pierce the pitched roof. The W end has a three-light stepped lancet window with similar polychromatic detailing and three bands of black brick. To either side is a plaque confirming that the building was constructed as a memorial to Bishop Hogarth and the date 1870. The rear south elevation has a plainer eaves cornice and paired two-light windows with a two-storey sacristy to the south-east corner and a similar projecting range to the centre which has been truncated and partly rebuilt. Attached to the west end of the school-church is the later and more plainly detailed four-bay school with a half-hipped roof; a full-height pointed arched entrance with a moulded brick surround and brick tympanum occupies the northern-most bay (double doors are replacements) and three two-light lancet windows form the other bays. The lean-to extension to the E elevation of the W range and the small extension in the angle between the N range and the W range as well as the enclosing brick walls to the rear yards are excluded from the listing.
INTERIOR: the school-church is a lengthy space with the original roof structure remaining above a C20 ceiling inserted above its tie beams. The stained glass of the east window depicts St Thomas Aquinas, Our Lord Teaching in the Temple and St Catherine. The sanctuary has a panelled dado with Gothic detailing including crocketed pinnacles, and there is a carved stone piscina to the right of the altar. The latter is the original and has five deeply carved, ornate panels of Caen stone bearing emblems of the Passion including, Crown of Thorns, The Pelican in her Piety and to the centre, a Crucifixion, each panel framed by a pair of marble columns. A richly ornamented canopy for the tabernacle survives supported on four green marble shafts. The screen that would have originally separated off the school room from the sanctuary has been removed. The nave walls are plastered and lightly painted, with a panelled dado and square-end benches of pitch pine. Four pointed arch openings through the south wall, each with a small applied cross to its tympanum, are original entrances to the sacristy, the truncated central projecting range, and a pair of entrances to the exterior rear yard; one of the latter is blocked but the others retain original double boarded doors. To the rear of the church is a raised area occupying the west bay, which contains the organ. The sacristy retains an original later C19 cast-iron fireplace set within a timber surround and boarded cupboards, and the remodelled central, rear projection has a holy water stoup set within the external face of the south wall.
The attached school is a single space, whose original roof structure is obscured by an inserted ceiling with only the supporting corbels visible. There is a timber and glazed vestibule, a panelled dado, an original inbuilt cupboard to the north end and a wooden plaque recording its construction. A wide arched entrance leads out through the north-east corner.
This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 28/09/2016
Other: Churches in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle: An Architectural and Historical Review, AHP, 2012
Architect: Richard Robinson
Original Date: 1871
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Grade II